Can Hiking Boots be Used in the Snow?

I love hiking in the snow. The world is more magical when there is snow and ice everywhere. But this does leave the question of whether you should use snow or hiking boots.

Hiking boots can be worn in the snow if they are waterproof, but hiking boots may be the wrong choice. Hiking in the snow requires grip and support and not all hiking boots supply this. If someone should wear hiking boots depends on the activity that is being performed.

I have gone on many forums and compiled the general opinion on the pros and cons of using hiking boots in the snow. This should help you to make a better-informed decision on whether your boots will work for you on your next outdoor adventure. Read on to learn more about the differences between hiking and snow boots.


Hiking boots have a lot of support. They are created to support you as you try to climb hard to reach places. Therefore, wearing hiking boots can be a perk if you are walking in areas where you will need a lot of ankle support.

Another perk of extra support is that the high ankles can keep snow outside of your boot. Have you ever gotten snow in your boots? Isn’t it the worst? I hate having snow in my snow boots. Once the snow gets in your boot it makes your socks wet, which is the most uncomfortable thing.

Having snow in your boots can even be dangerous if you are outside for too long. The cold water pressed against your feet in the freezing temperatures can cause frostbite. Frostbite can cause permanent damage to your feet.

Therefore, having on hiking boots can potentially protect you more than having on regular snow boots.

Water Damage

You need to make sure that your hiking boots are waterproof. Many types of hiking boots are not waterproof. If your hiking boots are not waterproof then you will damage them and will not be able to use them again. (Source)

Make sure that they are waterproof and not just water-resistant. Water-resistant boots are very different from waterproof boots. Water-resistant boots can withstand a certain level of water, but at a point, they will fail under the pressure and will leak through and ruin your boots.

Waterproof boots on the other hand are curated to withstand all levels of water pressure and will help you to have a more pleasant winter experience.

All snow boots are expected to be able to withstand intense levels of water saturation. Snow boots are created to be in snow which will melt when you step in it. Therefore, you are safe wearing your snow boots outside.


If you are hiking you want to have shoes that do not hold you down. Snow boots are very heavy usually. This is because they are curated to keep you warm in the snow.

Hiking boots can come in lots of different weights, but on average they are lighter than snow boots. This can be great for hiking.

Make sure though that your hiking boots aren’t lighter because they are not waterproof. If it is lighter just because they are not insulated you can create your own insulation with lots and lots of socks.

I have gone hiking in the snow with three layers of fuzzy socks on, which was a lot lighter still than the insulation I had on my snow boots. Make sure though if you are supplying your own insulation you have extra pairs of socks packed. You do not want to get frostbite.


The most embarrassing moment of my life was when I decided to go hiking in the snow with some friends. It was a two-hour drive to the mountain we wanted to climb. I pulled out the first pair of boots in my closet and did not check to see if they had good traction.

When we got to the first small hill I started slipping. I could not get over the first difficult hill, because my boot had no traction. My friends would not continue without me so we all headed back home without getting very far in our hike.

Most snow boots are created to have a level of snow traction. Hiking boots are not created that way, so check to make sure your hiking boots have good traction before committing to use them to climb icy terrains. If you don’t do that you may have an embarrassing story to match mine.


One thing that I hate about snow boots is that they are the most uncomfortable boots ever. They are very unbreathable. Your feet feel trapped in layers and layers of insulation and weight.

One nice thing about hiking shoes is that they are a lot more breathable than snow shoes. They are created to be worn for long periods of time doing lots of heavy work. Therefore, it is important that you do not feel weighed down by your feet.

Therefore, a nice part of using hiking boots is that it is a lot more breathable, which can be a benefit. It can be more encouraging to hike in the snow if you know you do not have to put on your uncomfortable snow shoes.

Be aware though that the aspects that make the snowshoe unbreathable protect your feet from frostbite. Therefore, if you are putting on hiking boots for more breathability make sure that you pay attention to your feet.


Hiking boots are colder. Most people wear hiking boots in the summer, which means that people want their boots to be breezier. They don’t want their feet to be sweating.

Companies that make boots expect people to wear snow boots in the cold, so they do not feel the need to make sure that hiking boots are insulated. If you are prone to having very cold feet when you go out in the snow then hiking boots may not be the right choice for you.

Snow boots all come with some layer of insulation to keep your feet warm. This can be really important when hiking, because if your feet get too cold then it is harder to walk. It can also cause frostbite, which can result in damage to the tissues on your feet.

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